Govt, industry join hands to strengthen cyber security

Govt, industry join hands to strengthen cyber security New Delhi: With recent instances of turmoil due to misuse of cyberspace fresh in mind, the government and the industry on Monday joined hands for ensuring security of computer networks and systems in the country while keeping democratic freedom intact.

The government and the private sector would jointly set up pilot testing labs for IT products, study vulnerabilities in a sample critical information infrastructure, conduct test audits to enhance the level of preparedness in cyber security and establish centres to train professionals in the key area.

This was stated by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon after releasing the report of the Joint Working Group, chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Latha Reddy on 'Engagement with Private Sector on Cyber Security'.

Observing that neither the government nor the private sector can achieve cyber security in isolation, Menon stressed on the need to build the kind of partnerships and the habit of working together that "we haven't had in the past".

"If India has to grow its IT industry, we also have to maintain our reputation of being safe, secure partners with whom everybody can work with," he said.

Menon said from the government point of view there were larger implications as well given the recent instances of misuse of social media to spread disinformation and affect social harmony.

"This kind of phenomenon is is something we need to learn to deal with. This is something new. The important thing for a democratic society like us is how do we do it while maintaining democratic freedoms," he said.

The JWG recommended a roadmap for enhancing public-private partnership in the area of cyber security by setting up an institutional framework, development of security standards, augmentation of testing and certification of IT products.

The institutional framework would include setting up of a permanent JWG to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the roadmap, said NIIT Chairman Rajendra Pawar, who was a member of the JWG chaired by Reddy.

"Cyber security can have serious implications for the nation and economy at large. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the risks emanating from operating in cyber space," Department of Electronics and IT Secretary J Satyanarayana told reporters here.

This year, there have been close to 20,000 cyber attacks till now compared to 13,500 in 2011 on both government and other websites, he added.

Menon underlined that there were no hard and fast rules while dealing with cyber security.

"That is something that is best worked out together whether it is with the civil society, the private sector or the government. Frankly, we will learn as we do and as we move forward," he said.

"So long as we work together we can create a virtuous cycle of security," Menon said.
Satyanarayana said there are just a few thousand security experts in the country, while the requirement is of roughly half a million professionals.

The report has also suggested creation of Information Sharing and Analysis Centres (ISACs) in various industry verticals by the private sector, which would coordinate with sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and CERT-India.